One of the biggest hassles of international travel has to be the airport security checkpoint, where passengers have to fish laptops, tablets with keyboards, powders, liquids, aerosols and gels out of their bag and present them separately for screening: but a new trial at Brisbane Airport aims to change that.
Thanks to a new computed tomography (CT) cabin baggage scanner, some travellers are now being instructed to leave everything inside their luggage as part of that trial, which keeps things as simple as plonking your bag on the belt and proceeding straight to the body scanner or metal detector.
Because the scanner takes X-ray images of each bag from a variety of angles, security staff can more thoroughly examine the contents of each piece of luggage, even when items like laptops and liquids remain inside.
That’s far more advanced than traditional airport X-rays which provide staff with only one or two views of each bag, and has long been the reason that travellers are asked to separate bulky items at the checkpoint, such as laptops, to prevent them obstructing the operator’s view of everything else.
A spokeswoman for Brisbane Airport Corporation told Australian Business Traveller that the trial would continue into February 2019, and that “if the trial of the equipment is successful, it will stay in place and more units will be installed” at the international terminal on a phased basis.
This includes a new type of body scanner that’s also being trialled in the same security screening lane as the CT machine, where passengers enter an open space and can keep their hands by their sides during the scan, rather than placing them over their head.
The technology was first seen in Australia in late 2016 when the manufacturer ran temporary operational trials at Newcastle Airport for domestic passengers.
It’s understood that removing the need for people to raise their hands makes the scanning process easier for elderly travellers and those with various injuries, for whom the normal scanner may present difficulties.
While many business travellers will hope that Brisbane Airport’s trial is successful – and that ultimately, laptops and liquid bags won’t need to be removed at the screening point – that remains to be seen after the results of the trial have been finalised.
“If BAC determines the equipment is not suitable, the equipment will be removed and the screening will revert back to previous equipment,” the BAC’s spokeswoman shares.
Throughout the trial, passengers may also be instructed to leave their laptops and large tablets inside their bag while still removing liquids, aerosols, gels and powders as normal, to be screened separately.
Airport staff will advise what’s necessary to passengers who are directed towards the trial checkpoint, which is located on the far right of the international screening area.
If you’re clearing security via any other lane at Brisbane’s international terminal, you’ll still need to remove laptops and liquid bags as normal, placing them onto trays to be scanned separately.
Brisbane’s trial comes ahead of broader aviation security enhancements that the Australian Government plans to roll out over the next two years, and builds upon a similar trial of CT cabin baggage scanning at Melbourne Airport last year, for domestic passengers departing from T4.